Marketers everywhere (should) already know their target market demographics – the easily quantifiable ’who’, ’what’ and ’where?’. But a growing number of us are realising that psychographics – the elusive reasons ’why’ our customers buy from us – are not only far more valuable, but that the data is getting easier to obtain.
Marketers have been pretty slow to latch onto psychographics due to the amount of time, effort and resources required to use them effectively. However, nothing worth having comes easy and, as individuals are more likely to choose their own social groups than ever – in particular millennials – your target markets are getting smaller and more fragmented all the time.
With it being harder to reach a large number of people using a top-down strategy, a growing number of us are paying closer attention to the benefits of psychographics as a critical tool in millennial marketing.
So what kind of information are you looking for?
Demographic information includes gender, age and income – the dry facts. Psychographic information, on the other hand, might be a customer’s interests, hobbies or values.
Using demographic and psychographic information together will help you understand your buyer personas much more thoroughly r and enable you to spot new ways of reaching them.
An individual’s interests are shaped by factors like their upbringing, culture and socio-economic status: their interests will continually change over time depending on current affairs and at what stage of their life they have reached.
For example, a proportion of millennials might be interested in studying and passing exams right now, but of course this is unlikely to last once they finish school or university; what you’ll need to know is exactly what they want and when they want it for your best chance of appealing to them.
Bear in mind though that not everyone in your target audience will share one particular interest either. However, there will be overlaps so you’ll need to look for trends and identify the interests that are more popular than others.
Asking your target market about their hobbies will give you lots of useful information which you can use to target specific marketing channels and guide how you write your ad copy.
You should also ask them how they generally spend most of their free time. For example, many of your millennial customers might like visiting vintage fairs but in fact spend most of their time at home watching Netflix and this is much more useful in guiding you on where to advertise and when.
Asking your customers’ opinions on certain topics can help uncover their attitudes, helping you to figure out their values and motivations for buying your product or service.
For example, a growing number of millennials care deeply about the environment, so a good open-ended question to ask your customers might be “What is your opinion on corporate accountability when it comes to environmental practices?”
The better you know your audience, the more focused you can be: “What is your opinion on the outcome of the 2015 UN climate conference?” Not only can your customers’ answers help to guide your brand messages, they can also help your business to better meet their expectations in a way that demographics alone simply can’t.
How do I get my hands on psychographic data?
Ask the customers you’ve already got
Sometimes it’s as simple as asking your customers to tell you what they care about in a survey. Consider offering them a discount code, free product or the chance to win a high-value prize in exchange for their time and answers.
You could also ask your best customers more about themselves each time you chat to them and use software like Mediahawk’s to keep track of your telephone calls.
Ask them what they’ve been up to lately, whether they’ve been watching any good series they can recommend, or whether they’ve found any great deals on streaming services.
By building a genuine relationship with your customers you’ll get to know what they do for fun and whether they’re motivated most by discounts, helpful tips and tricks or by credentials such as environmental ethics.
Facebook: ‘stalk’ them
Even if you don’t have the kind of business where you can talk to your customers directly, you still have social media. Millennials love to share their thoughts and opinions on public platforms, so social media gives you a unique opportunity to be a fly on the wall. Are your most frequent shoppers posting photos of their purchases online and, if so, how are they pitching them to their followers?
What kinds of tweets and Instagram posts are they liking and what else are they talking about with their friends?
Really Facebook stalks them
Social networks are useful beyond a bit of Facebook stalking, offering you a wealth of profile and user-generated data to work with.
Collect the data behind social media profiles to find out who is more likely to spend with you; Labour or Conservative supporters; knitters or crocheters; Chelsea or Arsenal fans?
Their behaviour gives their values away
Your existing site content should give you a good idea of what really motivates people to purchase from you. Which types of campaigns convert the most often: discounts or promises of great customer service?
Experiment with your blog, social media and newsletter content, to figure out what works for who, then give them more of what they love. Over time you’ll be able to use your purchasing data to understand your customers’ mentality and be able to predict their behavioural patterns.
Not only that, but when used in conjunction with social profile data, you can use the current purchasing behaviour of, say, university freshers to predict the future behaviour of sixth formers and college students and know the best products to recommend to them at precisely the right time.
Don’t get left behind
Used correctly, knowing your customers’ interests and values will help you to spend the right amount of time and resources in the right areas at the right time, with the right brand messages giving you more qualified leads than you dreamed possible.
The fact is that there are algorithms out there retaining customers’ business by recommending products based on their past behaviour so you need to be doing at least something to keep up with your rivals.